A8(b). Responsible can packaging

"To support our pledge to remove a billion units of alcohol sold annually from the market, we will carry out a review of the alcohol content and container sizes of all alcohol products in our portfolio. By December 2014 we will not produce or sell any carbonated product with more than (4) units of alcohol in a single-serve can."

The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by being or becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge sets out to achieve and why it is important.

The objective of this pledge is to set a standard for responsible packaging in single-serve cans and in doing so, reduce the appeal of high strength, high volume products to those that drink the most, particularly those in vulnerable groups.

For all types of alcohol, the more a person drinks the more they put themselves at risk of harm. For those who drink twice the lower risk guidelines, high volume and high strength products can have a particular appeal. This is especially relevant for vulnerable street drinkers and homeless drinkers who are at risk of harm through their alcohol misuse. Their patterns of drinking can also have a wider social impact on the local community.

Benefits to public health

Alcohol-related harm is estimated to cost society 21 billion per year.
Alcohol attributable deaths in England rose by 7 per cent, from 14,406 in 2001 to 15,479 in 2010. In contrast, deaths from all causes in England fell by 7 per cent over this period. There were 1.2 million alcohol-related hospital admissions in England in 2010/11. For those drinking just around double the lower-risk guidelines, the lifetime risk of death caused by alcohol is 10%, compared with 1% for those drinking around the lower-risk guidelines. At this level, women are 2.7 times as likely to get cancers of the mouth, neck and throat and men have over twice (2.35) the risk of having high blood pressure.

The cost to society of alcohol-related crime is 11 billion per year. There is a worrying link between alcohol and crime - in 47% of violent incidents in 2011/12 the victim believed the perpetrator to be under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder disrupts community life.

If single-serve cans have a limited unit content this could have the benefit of a reduction in acute health and social harm, as well as chronic health harm. Anything that the industry can do to help reduce the alcohol intake of vulnerable groups should be encouraged.

How you can deliver this pledge

Companies can deliver this pledge in a number of ways depending on their business model and practical opportunities open to them. For example:

  • producers can commit to only producing carbonated products with no more than (4) units of alcohol in a single-serve can.
  • retailers can commit to not selling cans of carbonated product with more than (4) units of alcohol in a single-serve can.
  • retailers can commit to not replacing cans with more than 4 units from other sources when RD partners (producers) remove these from their offer list, when they remove alcohol from their products or when they only produce cans with no more than 4 units of alcohol.

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide a pledge delivery plan, laying out how they intend to meet the pledge they have signed up to. They will have up to 2,000 characters to describe their plans. All delivery plans will be published on the Responsibility Deal website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.

For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update. Further information on the reporting arrangements for each alcohol pledge for the reporting period 2014/2015 is available.

Partners can complete their delivery plans and annual updates online. Please login here.

Monitoring delivery of the pledge

Monitoring delivery of the pledge will be included in the arrangements already in place to monitor delivery of pledge A8 to remove 1 billion units from the market by the end of 2015. This is measured on an industry-wide basis and includes using HMRC clearance data and sales data gathered by AC Neilsen market research.

Partners currently committed to this pledge (8):

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